If you’re trying to build or upgrade a PC, now is the best time to buy many different components. Black Friday brings huge discounts on parts, making it the best time of the year to stretch your dollar the furthest. But this year, there’s one important part you should wait on: a new Nvidia graphics card.
That’s not because Nvidia’s latest GPUs are bad — they’re some of the best graphics cards you can buy — but because we’re likely on the brink of a major refresh to Nvidia’s current lineup of GPUs, and the deals we’re seeing now will probably become the norm in just a few months.
A Super refresh incoming?
For weeks now, we’ve been hearing about a Super refresh to Nvidia’s RTX 40-series GPUs. Rumor has it that Nvidia is gearing up to release an RTX 4080 Super, RTX 4070 Ti Super, and an RTX 4070 Super to replace the RTX 4080, RTX 4070 Ti, and RTX 4070, respectively.
Rumors of new GPUs pop up constantly, but the refresh was lent a lot of credibility after Nvidia announced a “special address” at CES 2024. Even prior to this announcement, leakers claimed the cards would arrive in January 2024. Nvidia hasn’t said anything official on the matter yet, and it likely won’t. However, there’s good reason to believe some sort of refresh is on the way (more on that later). In addition, VideoCardz reports that board partners have already been notified about the upcoming launch.
In the context of Black Friday, the big reason a Super refresh is so important is that these cards are suspected to arrive at the same price as the cards they’re replacing. That will inevitably push prices down for the base RTX 4080, RTX 4070 Ti, and RTX 4070, as retailers sell them off to create space for the new Super models. On top of that, we’ve already seen prices for these base models drop over the last few months, and a Super refresh could push them down further.
All three cards are rumored to come with the same memory configuration as their base models but with a huge bump to core count. Leakers claim the bump will be around 5% for the RTX 4080 Super, up to 22% for the RTX 4070 Super. Even if the cards don’t provide a huge performance uplift, the effect they’ll have on current GPU prices is clear.
What if they’re wrong?
I hear you — what if the hivemind of Twitter and YouTube GPU leakers are wrong about the upcoming refresh? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. The big deal for an RTX 40-series Super refresh isn’t that we’re hearing leaks alone. It’s that we’re hearing leaks and it would make a lot of sense for Nvidia to extend the lifecycle of its Ada Lovelace generation.
According to Nvidia’s roadmap, Ada Lovelace-next — currently suspected to be the Blackwell generation of RTX 50-series GPUs — isn’t expected to arrive until 2025. That breaks the release cadence we’ve seen from Nvidia since 2014 with the release of GTX 900-series graphics cards. The company normally introduces a new generation every two years, but if Nvidia’s roadmap is true, it will be three years between the release of RTX 40-series and RTX 50-series.
That leaves next year wide open for Nvidia, and it doesn’t have a lot of GPUs to release in its RTX 40-series. We’ve seen the full stack, it seems, and that’s true across both desktops and laptops. The only possibility is an RTX 4050 for gamers on a strict budget, but we haven’t heard anything about that card yet.
It makes sense for Nvidia to extend the life of its RTX 40-series generation, not only due to the timing of next-gen GPUs, but also from what we’re seeing with GPU prices now. The RTX 4080, for example, is seeing price drops, but it’s still around $1,100 at its cheapest. AMD’s RX 7900 XTX offers similar performance, and you can find it for around $950. Similarly, prices for the RTX 4070 have dropped from $600 to around $550, but AMD’s competitive RX 7800 XT is available for $500, and even less on sale.
From the competitive pricing we’ve already seen, it’s clear Nvidia doesn’t want to push the prices of its GPUs further down. So, what do you do instead? You release more powerful versions at the same price. This isn’t a new tactic for Nvidia, either. Back with RTX 20-series GPUs, the company quickly issued a Super refresh to maintain a competitive edge during a relatively disappointing generation of graphics cards.
I need to point out that all of this context doesn’t confirm that a Super refresh is on the way. It just lends more credibility to the leaks we’ve been seeing. There’s no harm in waiting a couple of months to see if the rumors manifest as products, either. From the deals we’re seeing now, it doesn’t seem like anyone is going to miss out on a big GPU discount.
No harm in waiting
If we were seeing massive discounts on GPUs right now, there wouldn’t be much sense in waiting a couple of months for a potential Super refresh. We’re not, though. It’s possible we could see a couple of flash deals, but even among the best Black Friday GPU deals, most cards are selling for around the same price they have been for the last several weeks.
I’ve spotted a few discounts on the RTX 4080, and they’re only for overclocked cards that already sold above list price. It’s possible to score a good deal on a high-end card this year, but if you just want an RTX 4080, you can get one cheaper with a card that isn’t on sale. For example,
is part of Newegg’s Black Friday sale for $1,250. However, the
is also available for $1,150, and it isn’t on sale.
The same is true for the RTX 4070. This card is supposed to retail for $600, but Nvidia dropped the price to $550 in response to AMD’s RX 7800 XT. You can commonly find models at that price, sale or not. I’ve spotted one RTX 4070 for $520, and that’s a solid deal. But $30 isn’t enough to tip the scales when there’s a good chance the price will drop lower in a couple of months.
Now, this approach isn’t right for all Nvidia GPUs this Black Friday. I’m focused on the RTX 4070, RTX 4070 Ti, and RTX 4080 here. If you’re looking for a deal on a lower-end card, or a last-gen RTX 30-series GPU, you might be able to track down a good deal. If you’re interested in one of the cards rumored for a Super refresh, though, it’s best to wait until we see what Nvidia has in store next year.